Week 2: Behaviorism in Action

I have been thinking about all of the videos and readings that say that behaviorism = direct instruction, and I do not think that is actually the case. When students work in groups to solve a problem, I think that operant conditioning and reinforcement is still happening even when the teacher is not currently visiting a group. The way that group members respond to each other when they offer their ideas or thoughts in the group reinforces each other’s behavior, and likewise, when they fail to respond to a certain member, that negative reinforcement (withdrawing reinforcement) causes that member to no longer contribute. Likewise, when the teacher visits a group and asks a question of that group member who was no longer contributing and then highlights that response to the group, the teacher is engaging in positive reinforcement (offering a reward, basically) to that student, which will encourage them to participate in the future.